Promoting ASC Accountable Aquaculture International Standard Certification
Helping Taiwan’s tilapia growers expand their presence in the international arena and improve the overall quality of the aquaculture industry
Emphases of This Policy
- The average annual tilapia output in Taiwan is roughly between 60,000 and 70,000 metric tons, about 60% of the output is exported to foreign markets. Many countries are investing resources to develop the aquaculture of tilapia – especially the fast-growing Southeast Asia nations and China that own abundant natural resources and low wages. To deal with the competition from lower-priced products from foreign producers, helping aquaculture farms acquire international certification is the available approach to maintain the high quality of tilapia from Taiwan.
- ASC accountable aquaculture certification is established by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), a non-profit organization initiated in 2010 by The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). The ASC created a set of stringent third-party certification standards for aquaculture products. The issues under the audit encompass seven areas: 1. Abiding by national and local laws of the jurisdiction; 2. Protecting local ecology and biodiversity; 3. Conserving water resources; 4. Biodiversity and wildlife populations; 5. Responsibilities that should be assumed while using the resources; 6. Managing the health of the fish population with environmental responsible methods; and 7. Taking social responsibilities. The audit standards cover 61 items.
- To help expand the international markets for Taiwan’s tilapia and improve the standards of aquaculture farms, the Fisheries Agency has joined forces with Tainan City Government to offer guidance to the twelve farmers and two processing factories in the NanYing Aquaculture Association since 2012. The preparation of documents and training for ASC certification began in September 2011. After eighteen months of arduous effort, and an open and transparent audit process, these aquaculture farms earned ASC certification on March 14, 2013. The total annual output of the certified farms is about 1,800 tons. Currently, only twenty-four tilapia aquaculture farms in the world have earned ASC certification – 1 in Costa Rica, 2 in Ecuador, 2 in Honduras, 5 in Indonesia, 1 in Malaysia, 12 in Taiwan, and 1 in Vietnam, In which Taiwan represents half the list of the certified farms.
- Products that have earned ASC certification will be easier in winning purchase orders from retailers that identify with vision of the ASC. These retailers include: Ahold supermarket group (the leader in the supermarket industry in the Netherlands, with locations in the Netherlands and the US), Anova Food LLC (a supplier of seafood, with business locations in Europe and Asia), Metro Group (No. 4-ranked retailer in terms of global sales, with stores in 32 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa) and Kroger Co. (the largest supermarket chain in the US). To differentiate Taiwan’s tilapia from other products in the international market, the Fisheries Agency gave the Chinese name “Activity Eco-friendly Tilapia” to Taiwan’s tilapia that has earned ASC certification. The product has been successfully available for sale for about a month in the channel of retailer “Organic and Natural House,” and its sale is growing steadily.